The first argument heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this term, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, will determine whether our federal courts can continue to adjudicate human-rights cases, and whether corporations (as well as natural persons) can be named as defendants in those suits. These issues are critically important in and of themselves. But the Kiobel decision is also important because it will reveal whether the Roberts Court is principled, or so pro-big business that it is willing to ignore its own precedent.
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